Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Great 1953 Trek by Dulcie Beak and Diane Stuckey

Kindle Edition: File Size 150KB 
Genre: Travel Memoir
Publisher:  Self Published by Author.

Source: Purchased from Amazon.
First Sentences: It all started in March 1952. we had read in an English daily newspaper of a man called Hinchliff, who had just broken the Cape Town to London overland record in a Vauxhall car.

My Opinion A delightful narrative.

I do not read or review many factual books but I made an exception for this one and purchased for my Kindle as I am a reader of the author Diane Stuckey's blogs, which I do not believe I am allowed to mention in an Amazon review, so those reading this review there will have to do some research if they are interested.

It is a delightful narrative of a family's overland trip from Bath in the UK to Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia in a Land Rover converted especially for this pioneering trip which took place in 1952 when the second author was just a little girl. She has edited her mothers diaries of their adventures crossing Europe, The Sahara, West and Central Africa to reach their destination. What an amazing experience it was for this intrepid family consisting of Dulcie and Don the parents and their two children, Diane who was just 7 years old and her brother David 15 years old to complete a trek of over 7,000 miles in just a few eventful months.

I will not reveal any of their adventures here but just recommend this quick read to all that think they enjoy travel. To read what it was like to undertake this trip in the fifties when only the privileged few ventured abroad on holiday let alone undertook such a journey, is an eye opener.  Also included in this Kindle edition are some interesting photos from the adventure which add interest to the narrative.

I would like to see this taken further with a sequel about the families life in Rhodesia, having edited her mother's diary I believe Diane would make a good job of turning her own diaries into a book.

Author Profile.

Diane Stuckey
I have taken the liberty of copying Diane's own explanation about this book from her website, which she wrote I believe soon after her mother Dulcie's death if I understand this profile correctly.

Dulcie Beak (10 June 1915 - 17 June 2002)
Introduction by Diane Stuckey (Dulcie's daughter)
For years my mother Dulcie Beak had been saying that she would write a book on our trip in 1953 from Bath, England to Salisbury, Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia.   I have her diary, photos, my (then very young) memory and copy of a rough rewrite of the trip which she did two years ago, still meaning to write her book.   I now hope to put this all together in her sudden absence and in her own words as far as possible.  I am the only surviving member of the journey, my brother David being killed in a car accident in 1959 and my father (Don)  passed away after a very short illness in 1993.  It is a trip that I would love to repeat , being older  and more able now to appreciate it so much more, but with all the political problems that are now involved in Africa, I know it is a trip that would be very difficult, if nigh impossible to do now.    I have kept all the names of countries and towns as they were at the time of the trip and this is how I intend to keep the narrative, so it is as close as possible to the situation prevailing at the time of the original diary.  No disrespect whatever is intended to the countries and peoples involved.  For those interested, I am sure that a current map of Africa would  provide the reader with a good idea of the route and the new names of countries and towns.  

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the authors and their writing. I mentioned in my review that it would be great if Diane Stuckey were to follow this up by writing a book of her memories of growing up in Rhodesia. Well she has in fact already started by writing it up in a fascinating on-line blog about her childhood. She also writes a blog about her ex-pat life in France. I have included links to both these sites in the list that follows.

The Great 1953 Trek - Website    My Life Before Charente     My Life in the Charente   


  1. Thanks Linda, I really appreciate this review and comment, you have done a great job for me. Many thanks Diane

    1. It was a pleasure Diane, I am hoping one day you will continue the story for us.

  2. I would love to read this! Travel memories are a favorite read for me!

    1. Hi Barbara, if you have a Kindle it is available on Amazon for just £1 at present!


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